China's Rapid Urbanization

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Science  18 Oct 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6156, pp. 310
DOI: 10.1126/science.342.6156.310-a

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  • RE: Western China: The Key Area for National New-type Urbanization
    • Kun Yang, Professor, Yunnan Normal University
    • Other Contributors:
      • Shaohua Zhang, PhD Candidate, Yunnan Normal University
      • Abe Powell, PhD Candidate, Yunnan Normal University
      • Yang Yang, PhD, Yunnan Normal University
      • Wei Rao, Porfessor, Yunnan Normal University

    China’s level of urbanization has increased rapidly the last 30 years, reaching the urbanization rate of 56% in 2015. The gap between Eastern China and Western China’s level of urbanization has been gradually widening, and the urbanization rate of Eastern China is close to the level of developed countries. However, Eastern China is nearing the maximum bearing capacity of its resources and environment. It causes serious urban problems and leads to slower economic growth (1). In contrast to this, Western China, with its vast land area, abundant resources, and a lower than average urbanization rate, should be the key area in which to develop New-type Urbanization.
    Eastern China accounts for 11% of the nation’s land, supports 41.5% of the population and contributes 55.34% of the GDP. Western China accounts for 71.3% of the nation’s land, but population and GDP merely account for 27% and 20.2% respectively of the country’s total. According to the law of urban development, Eastern China’s economic development is slowing with an urbanization rate of 76.29% and Western China’s economy is booming with an urbanization rate of 48.05%. China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection established 74 air quality monitoring sites throughout the country. Sixty-three cities did not meet the standards for air quality and 71% of them were located in Eastern China. Fully 90% of China’s shallow groundwater is polluted water and 5 of the 7 major river basins in China (all located in Eastern C...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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